We are presently making preparations to honour fathers all over the world on Sunday, June 15. Let me give a brief history pertaining to Father’s Day which I believe would be of great interest to my readers:
“Sonora Dodd of Washington first had the idea of ‘Father’s Day.’ She thought of the idea of Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924 supported the idea of a National Father’s Day. Then in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day. President Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made it permanent in 1972.’’
A day honouring fathers has been a very old tradition since the beginning of time. About 4000 years ago a young boy named Elmusu wished his Babylonian father good health and long life by carving a father’s day message on a card made out of clay. No one knows what happened to Elmusu or his father, but the tradition of having a special day honouring fathers has continued through the years in countries across the world.
We cannot separate the father from the mother or separate the husband from the wife. Marriage is a very sacred institution ordained by God since the beginning of time. Today we have seen a great moral breakdown in the home and family. We have seen domestic violence caused by so many drunken and immoral fathers. We have seen family separation where husbands and wives are going their separate ways. There is divorce and more divorce every day; child abuse by parents, poverty and the separation of children from parents. Why all these social ills?
It’s because men have failed to take up their responsibility as fathers, and a father is the source and foundation of the family income. A woman is not looking for a sex champion to be a husband; she is looking for a father in her husband, the source and sustainer of her financial and emotional needs. A true father doesn’t only just produce; he sustains, protects, nourishes, loves and supports.
No marriage becomes great if either the husband or the wife is nothing but a taker. Great marriages are built by great givers. Both partners have to learn how to truly love one another. When you get married you don’t automatically live happily ever after. In fact, if you and your spouse refuse to change wrong attitudes after you get married, you won’t live happily for two hours. Marriage is supposed to be a covenant relationship in which two people learn how to complement each other. This kind of marriage is achieved when both marriage partners maintain a sense of love and compassion for one another.
Husbands need to show their wives that they are important; they must show them that they have care and concern for them as well as their children. Wives need to be loved, not beaten and abused. Our wives need to be cared for. They need to be given security and closeness without sex. The driving force in a marriage is not sex; that’s why most marriages fail. Love and affection and sex will work together. Wives need conversation from their husbands. When a married couple is continually conversing with each other, they are forming a closer bond between them. That should always be their goal.
The Father’s role as well as that of the wife is to train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’
I read a quotation by Anne Geddes: “Any man can be a father but it takes a special person to be called dad.’’ That is quite an interesting quotation because there are so many running fathers in the world today. It takes a special person to be called dad. I feel very special when I go shopping with my wife and children. My children see me as their financial source. My daughter can pick up a lot of stuff in a supermarket when we are shopping and just have to say daddy will pay for it. It’s because she has trust and confidence in me as her father, nourisher and sustainer.
William Shakespeare wrote: ‘’It is a wise father that knows his own child.’’ A father will only know his child when he takes on the responsibility to care for that child. Father’s Day will be a very sad day for many fathers because they really don’t know their children. They will not get love and affection from their children because they have deserted them from a very tender age.
The true essence of fatherhood is for fathers to take up the leading role in their homes because they are the foundation of their families. Bad fathers will produce bad children and bad children will create a bad society and bad societies will create a deplorable country, all because of poor fathers who are the foundation of families.
I am very happy when I stand on my church stage looking at fathers coming into the house of God with their wives and children. If every father would attend ‘church’ regularly and involve themselves with their religious leaders in ‘church’ activities we would have a more morally upright society and stronger family values. Modern psychologists have said that children who come from good families are the brightest in school; conversely, children who come from broken homes perform badly in school.
It’s about time the fathers of this country start leading their families and become better role models for their children. I realize that I am getting old because I begin to look just like my father. May God bless all our fathers in Guyana. My prayers are with them.
Rev Gideon Cecil